Eric Church claims his third and fastest top 10 on Billboard's Country Songs chart, as "Put a Drink in My Hand" gains 1.6 million audience impressions and steps 11-10 in its 17th chart week. He needed 32 weeks to achieve his first top 10 with "Love Your Love the Most" in October 2009, and 31 weeks to reach the upper tier with "Hell On the Heart" in May 2010 -- both titles peaked at No. 10. Retail momentum for "Drink" accelerated following an energetic performance of the song on the Nov. 9 CMA Awards, but the standout performance did little to spur radio results.
With 45,000 downloads and a 20-10 leap on Country Digital Songs (Nov. 26 chart), track sales shot up 168% during CMA week (up 28,000), while the radio audience grew a mere 0.8% (172,000 impressions) during the same window, and "Drink" ranked at No. 12 for the second of three straight weeks on the chart dated November 26.
Ranking at No. 10 in its 19th week on Country Albums (12,000 copies sold), Church's "Chief" set has sold approximately 470,000 since it opened at No. 1 with 145,000 copies on the August 13 chart. As a reminder, all Billboard retail charts update on Thursday mornings at www.billboard.biz.
With just over four full days of airplay (609,000 audience impressions), Tim McGraw's "Better Than I Used to Be" earns the Hot Shot Debut at No. 51 on Country Songs, opening with spins at 26 of the 128 stations monitored by Nielsen BDS for the chart. The track was serviced by Curb on November 30, just hours after a court hearing that essentially terminated the artist's long association with the label. As a result, the long delayed "Emotional Traffic" album will finally be released by the label on January 17. Audience leaders for "Better" during the tracking week are WUBL Atlanta (64,000), WMZQ Washington, D.C. (62,000) and WCTK Providence, RI (56,000). With 9 plays during the Wednesday through Sunday time frame, WQHK Ft. Wayne, IN is the spin leader for the new track.
Meanwhile, the second radio track from Luke Bryan's "Tailgates & Tanlines" album becomes the artist's second leader (2-1) on Country Digital Songs with 51,000 downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Prior single "Country Girl" topped that list in May.
Lady Antebellum dominates Country Songs and Country Albums, as "We Owned the Night" posts a second week at No. 1 on the radio chart, and a fourth cumulative week atop the albums list, where it debuted at No. 1 and spent the first three weeks in October. With 48,000 copies sold during the Nielsen SoundScan tracking week, "Own the Night" picks up Greatest Gainer honors (up 1,000 copies) with a 4-1 leap. With 18,000 copies, the trio's 2010 holiday EP "A Merry Little Christmas" crowns Country Catalog Albums for the first time.